Development of low-cost feeding strategies for group-housed gestating sows
Feed restriction in gestating sows is required to prevent excessive body weight gain and the associated negative consequences on lactation, locomotion, farrowing, and feed intake during lactation. Aggression and stereotypies associated with restricted feeding become a welfare and production concern when the sows are housed in groups. Delayed gastric emptying, increased swelling of contents in the stomach, and/or fermentation metabolites associated with bulky or high fibre diets during gestation may increase feelings of satiety and ameliorate behavioural problems associated with restricted feed intake. In addition, feeding high-fibre diets to sows may result in an increase in litter size and growth performance of offspring. The proposed project will seek to examine the effect of feeding processed straw on metabolic indicators of satiety and behavioural measures in group-housed gestating sows and growth indicators of litter performance.